rTMS is a safe, effective and non-invasive method for treating depression, which uses rapidly changing magnetic fields to stimulate areas of the brain that are involved in mood regulation. rTMS is typically used to treat people who haven’t responded to medication and therapy, or for people who are unable to take or tolerate medication. This novel approach is evidence-based and has been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
What is rTMS treatment used for?
rTMS treatment can be used to treat a whole range of mental health conditions, as well as other brain-related conditions.
At Priory, we use rTMS as a form of depression treatment. The usual first-line treatment for depression is talking therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), combined with anti-depressant medication, most notably selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, for some people, these initial treatment methods are unsuccessful in alleviating their symptoms. In these cases, a new and innovative treatment method, known as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), can be used as a means of helping people to overcome their depression and return to the healthy and fulfilling life that they deserve.
We are proud to be able to offer rTMS treatment at Priory Wellbeing Centre Harley Street, which is one of the few places in the country where this state-of-the-art treatment can be accessed.
Dr Leon Rozewicz, Medical Director at Priory Wellbeing Centre Harley Street says:
“rTMS is a novel and very promising treatment for depression and is safe and effective. It is particularly useful where other treatment approaches have not worked and has fewer adverse effects than other pharmacological or physical treatments.”
How does rTMS work?
During an rTMS session, an electromagnetic coil is placed on your head, just above your temple. Once this is in place, the electromagnet delivers electrical currents that stimulate the areas of your brain that are involved in mood control and depression. This increases the electrical activity in your brain and causes your brain cells to connect more effectively with each other, which has been found to reduce depression and improve mood.
What to expect during rTMS treatment
You will have an initial consultation with one of our depression treatment experts, to confirm your diagnosis of depression, review your medical history and get an understanding of any previous treatments you have received for depression. They will also talk you through all the treatment options that are available to you at Priory.
Your first session
rTMS sessions are administered by a specialist rTMS technician. Before treatment begins, your specialist will need to determine the best place to put the electromagnetic coil on your head, as well as the most appropriate dose of energy for you.
During each session
rTMS takes place on an outpatient basis, and each session will last for about 40 minutes. During this time, you will sit in a comfortable chair with the electromagnetic coil placed on your head and will hear clicking noises and feel tapping on your head. rTMS sessions are usually administered 4-5 days per week over a 4-week period.
What are the benefits of rTMS?
This non-invasive treatment has many benefits. These include:
- Highly effective based on clinical trials
- Very few side effects (the most common side effects are local skin warming and a brief, mild headache)
- Therapeutic benefits and effects can be seen after 1 week
- Available on an outpatient basis, enabling flexibility, convenience and ease of access
- You are able to resume normal daily activities (including driving) immediately after a treatment session
- rTMS can work alongside medication and talking therapy if required
It’s important to know that you don’t have to suffer with a mental health condition alone, expert treatment is available at Priory. If you’re really struggling with depression, and are finding that life is becoming very difficult, contact us today to discuss your next steps. Alternatively, contact your GP for advice.